Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! Revelation 7:10
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Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! Revelation 7:10
I found that phrase in one of my bible lessons and it made me stop and think. It is truth, is it not? A good father sometimes allows his kids to cry, but he would never flippantly cause his child tears.
It was five months after my husband was killed when I found this phrase. I had cried a megaton. Believe me, if an ocean could be fed from tears, I would have created Nic’s Ocean over that first year.
But Daddy God doesn’t cause His child needless tears. Listen to scripture.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
The Bible doesn’t say “some things” or “the good things” it says ALL THINGS. That includes the bad things too. I can’t tell you why bad things happen, or why Doug came home in three urns, but I can tell you this: God’s promise to us is that even with the bad, He is making good. God would make this tragedy work for my “good.”
He will never cause His child a needless tear.
That fact may not stop the tears from falling, but if you believe in Him despite those tears your faith will be built up. That fact may not stop the ache in your heart, but that ache will make you stronger. That fact may not cease the questions in you mind, but those questions will make you search for truth. And when you still believe, when you grow strong, and when you search for truth, HE becomes so much more. Because He is your truth ( John 14:6). He is your strength (Ex. 15:2 ). He is your hope (Ps. 71:5).
Remember Job? Poor man had no idea he was in an eternal bet. God bet on him; Satan bet against him. And Job had no idea he was the main star in a story that would be told for centuries. But in an odd way, the story of Job brings us hope. Job was a righteous man. God called him “blameless and upright” (Job 1:8). Bad things happened anyway.
Sometimes when bad things happen to someone we foolishly wonder what the person has done wrong. We are all guilty of it. But scripture says sometimes NOTHING is wrong! In fact, sometimes bad things happen because you are doing everything RIGHT.
Now, isn’t that a humdinger? Kinda bites, does it not?
Sometimes I wonder if Satan knocks on Daddy’s door and says, “You see that girl down there God? You take away her ________ and she will curse your name.”
Or better yet, does God point you out like He did Job (Job 1:8)? “Satan, have you considered my servant, ___________?”
And then Satan comes down and tries to take your faith. He is good at that, trying to take your faith. Don’t let him. The jerk. Spit in his face. Better yet, make him hate you even more when you stand firm and don’t give in. Make him hate you more because now, because of the bad, you have a testimony that SHINES.
Satan hates a testimony, because a testimony changes lives.
God doesn’t cause bad things, but at times He allows them because He can see what we can’t.
He can see the end. He can see the reunion. He can see the crowns we can earn as we fight for our faith. And in the end, we don’t lose anything. In fact, we gain it all right back. Daddy makes it right in the Millennial Kingdom. He can, and He will.
The question is, when bad things happen, will we fall away? Or will we SHINE?
Shine. I dare you. When the crap hits the fan. When the world seems the darkest. SHINE.
Shine for Him. Shine because you love Him. Shine because you trust Him.
Satan will hate you for it.
And Daddy? He will smile and say, “Satan, have you considered my servant, ____________. She just showed you did she not? You better not mess with Daddy’s girl again. You see her shining? She is beautiful to me.”
You are beautiful to Daddy God. You are beautiful when you shine.
e-mail me at nicsrevelations.com
Let’s be frank about it – the more wisdom you gain from God, the less “normal” you seem.
When you hear from God and you have to answer the “why are you doing that” question, how many times do you get an odd look, maybe even a rebuttal when you respond “God told me to do this.”
Around strong Christians the looks are less, but even they at times, seem to be a little uncertain, especially if they don’t think you should be doing what you are doing.
Anyone? Almost 5 months after my husband was killed, I wrote this in my journal.
October 6, 2006
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold. I just need to keep looking to heaven – look there always. People will try to change my convictions. I need to be strong.
- – -
I knew what God was telling me was extraordinary. I knew I was changing, and changing for the better. I knew what my focus now had to be. I still didn’t know it would lead to me writing a book, or a bible study (soon to come) but I did know it was life-altering.
And I knew the world would try to take God’s word away. The world always does.
“The worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Matt. 13:22)
So, when you think you hear from God, the first thing you need to do is . . .
1) STAND FIRM. “Stand firm, let nothing move you.” 1 Cor. 15:58
When you hear from God, write it down so that you can go back and look to see how you felt and what happened to make you feel that way. So if doubts come, you can go back to where you were and start again.
As James says, if you doubt what you have heard you will be like the waves of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind (James 1:6). The enemy wants you to think that you haven’t heard God correctly. And he loves for you to discount what you hear. How many times do we say this to ourselves, “Did I really hear from God?” Remember, that is Satan’s oldest trick. In the Garden of Eden, his first words to Eve were “Did God really say?”(Gen 3:1)
Why get a new strategy when the oldest one in the book works wonders. Jerk. I don’t like him. Care to flip they fallen angel off once in a while? – see here.
So write down what you feel God is telling you. Document it. Sign your name to it. That way, when the world comes to try to steal away God’s word, you can go back and read in your own words why you believe what you believe.
The next thing you need to so is. . .
2) MOVE FORWARD You need to take a step, no matter how big, FORWARD. Faith is not static, it is active. Jesus didn’t say, “Hey there faithful believer. You believe – GREAT. Stay where you are. See you on judgement day.”
No, Jesus said, “Follow me.” (John 10:27).
You need to move. You have the word. Now you need to move with it. You need to GO. If the word you heard was for you personally, you need to take steps to do what it is God told you to do. If that word could impact others, you need to move forward to spread the word.
I was frustrated the other day. I mean, really frustrated – overwhelmed and in tears. I stood in the kitchen shouting up at God, “If you want me to keep writing, you need to help me out. I can’t do it all. It would be so much easier if I quit.”
My wise seven-year old son said, “No mom. You can’t quit. The disciples didn’t quit.”
Wise. He is going to make a great preacher – in whatever profession he chooses. He is like his mom. He just HAS to speak about God. If he doesn’t, the fire would consume him. I feel the same way. If I didn’t speak, if I didn’t write, I would be consumed. What did God say to Jeremiah?
“Is not My word like fire? declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock.”
You try keeping that kind of fire inside and you are going to burn up. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29).
You need to take what you hear and move forward. Don’t give up. Move. If you don’t know where to move, move anyway. God will direct your steps.
and then you need to. . .
3)LISTEN. When you are moving, and feel like you are moving in the right direction, you can slowly drift away from listening. You can get so caught up in “doing” that you forget that the director is waiting for you to ask Him where your next step should lead. STAY IN THE WORD. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Ps 119:105). Make sure you sit and listen while you are moving. He will direct your steps.
and then it is inevitable that you. . .
3)GROW. It’s a funny thing. When you hear and stop doubting, God gives you more revelation. Then when you move forward with those revelations, you start to hear even more. Then you have to make the decision again. Do I trust? Or do I doubt? When you stand firm and toss doubt in the garbage can, you grow. It is a cycle. And it never stops. The more you trust God to reveal, the more you hear, the more you hear, the more you believe, the more you follow and listen, the more you grow.
And the revelations continue to come. It is like God is a big sea of wisdom. There is no way you will be able to drink it all – ever. He is an ocean.
Did you know the Jews say there are seventy facets to ever scripture. As in, there are seventy different truths in each and every verse of the Bible.
Fascinating. And do you know what? I do not doubt it. I don’t doubt it for one second.
God is never-ending. And you can’t get enough. So when you grow – you know.
I can never get enough of God. Never.
And that is exactly what He wants.
So keep believing Christian Soldier. Keep following His lead. Move forward and listen and grow. Move forward and know. There is an unending supply of revelation. An unending ocean of Him.
Amen! Come Quickly, Lord Jesus!
e-mail me at nicsrevealtions.com
I am linking up with Kelly’s Korner on her tour of homes. This week we are looking at how we display our pictures. If you have seen my living room, you will remember the 4 16×20 pics I arrange and change every season.
I started taking close-ups of my son when he was a newborn. In this arrangement I have my son starting at zero and then go every six months until he reaches 2 years. Then I have him every half a year – he is now seven. A few on the end are extra. But I think they look cool!
Then i have my ancestors framed in this display.
Pics are AWESOME. I can’t leave off here without a pic of my husband. I even put his pics on my lip balm containers!
Yes, I am weird. And I miss him. :) If you want to see how I put our wedding pappers on wallpaper, check out my bathroom. Soon now, Jesus will blow that trump and the dead in Christ will rise. Hallelujah!
Yesterday, I talked about my friend Roger (see pic), and how he preached one sunday morning about love being a choice, not an emotion. It rocked my world. I had never really thought about it before. But it is true.
Roger is a very wise man. So I am going to tell you something else Roger said that day.
“If you open yourselves up to joy, you will feel Jesus’ peace.”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
So, how is that peace going for you? Feel it?
Most of us don’t. I mean we live in a mad rush of Ipads, Ipods, Facebook, Twitter, Internet, work, long hours, screaming children, and let’s be blunt about it – chaos. Yet, Jesus said, if you are with Him, you can feel His peace – despite the chaos.
Joy. Open yourselves to joy. Joy is not happiness. Joy is something that the enemy can’t take from you. Joy is something that the world can’t take from you. Joy is something a persecution, trouble, sword, sickness, and betrayal can’t take from you.
Joy is Him. Listen to Jesus’ words before He speaks of this “joy” in John 15:11.
“believe also in Me . . . in My Father’s house are many dwelling places. . .I go to prepare a place for you. . . I will come back and receive you to myself. . .I am the way, the truth, the life. . . I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you. . . I will come back to you. . . I am the vine. . . you are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. . . if you abide in Me and My words abide in you ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. . . .
. . . THESE THINGS I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU SO THAT MY JOY MAY BE IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MAY BE MADE FULL.”
Joy is believing Jesus is the Christ (the vine). . . peace is knowing He will return. . .
You have to believe in Him and His promises to feel joy. And to feel His peace you have to believe in His kingdom. You will not feel a peace of unbusiness, but a peace despite the business. There is a joy knowing He is who He says He is. There is a peace knowing that His kingdom WILL come. He WILL return. And He WILL make it right.
May peace and joy be yours today.
As it will be yours for eternity.
e-mail me at nicsrevelations.com
Think about it. In regard to family? Friends? Spouse?
Is love a choice? Or an emotion?
On September 24, 2006, four months after Doug was killed I was in church and the guest speaker, Roger, was talking about love. He said, “Love is a choice.”
He went on to say, “What if we asked God to change us and not our situation?”
Roger didn’t know me at the time. He had no idea I had just lost my husband to an IED in Bagdad. I sat there thinking about those two statements.
Love is a choice. What if we asked God to change us and not our situation?
I remember after the two soldier’s knocked on my door, informing me of my husband’s death, that I sometimes prayed it was all a lie.
I wanted to change my situation. It did not change. And I knew it wouldn’t change. Doug’s soldier’s had seen him. Although Doug didn’t come home in one piece, others had seen the aftermath. Doug wasn’t coming home.
“What if we asked God to change us and not our situation?”
I wrote in my journal, “I need to pray for a change in me.”
I went on to say, “I do want to grow closer to God because only He can fill the hole. I am sad now, but I don’t want to seem unjoyful.”
I was worried that if I looked sad, people may think I wasn’t joyful in my God. But I was also worried if and when my tears subsided, my memories would fade (see yesterday’s post). I was worried, somehow, that if I let God fill that hole, my love for Doug would go away.
But if what Roger said was true, love was a choice.
Could I choose to love Doug despite the fact that the seat beside me would be empty for the rest of my life? Even if my emotions faded, even if I found myself lonely, even if I found myself wishing I was a couple again, could I choose to love and not rely on the emotion I felt at the time?
Just a few days earlier, on September 21, 2006, I had written in my journal. “I don’t think God wants me to get remarried.”
I didn’t know exactly why at that time. The Millennial Kingdom had not come into full focus, but I had run across a bible verse as I continually asked God, “Do I wait for heaven?”
“And others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” Matt. 19:12b
I could accept it. I actually wanted it. But I feared it as well. I knew humans were fickle. So was I. Would my convictions diminish with time? Would I flounder like a fish out of water?
But Roger said love was a choice. Not an emotion. If he was right, I could make a choice and walk confidently through life, choosing to love Doug despite the fact I couldn’t see him.
But isn’t that what we do every day with our “love”? We choose to love our children despite their selfish little hearts. We choose to love our families despite their insanity. We choose to love our friends even if we get hurt by them. We choose to love, or not to love, every day. We choose to say “yes” to love and not throw it into the wastebasket. “Love is patient. Love is kind. . . love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13:4,7-8
If love were only an emotion, it would fail, and it would fail miserably. Isn’t that the issue in today’s marriages? We “love” and sometimes do love, but most of that initial love is “emotional love.” Then we get married, and time goes by, and soon those emotions fade. Suddenly we see that this “love” takes work. Why? Because now our love is not based on emotion, it is based on choice. As time moves on, we have to choose to love our partner, and that partner is human. Bad news. Humanity has a disease called, “Selfish, prideful, balls of ME and MINE.” And it is hard to emotionally love that. The only way to love that is to choose to love.
Many marriages fail because at least one of the partners has failed to treat “love” as a choice. And sometimes one party is forced to leave because the other party’s “love” has failed.
But was that love real love at all? I don’t know. That is a debate we could go round and round about. But here is what I know. According to scripture – Love Never Fails. Why?
Love is a choice.
Jesus said, “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you.” John 15:9
And then he said, “You did not choose me, but I choose you.” John 15:16
And then he went to the cross. Voluntarily (John 10:18). He chose to die. Why?
He chose love.
He chose us. And we are unlovable. Really we are. We stink with sin. All of us. I don’t care if you are an ax-murderer or the “sweet girl” next door. Compared to God, we reek. Filth hangs off us (see Jeff Kinley’s Zombie Killers Handbook – a must read).
Love is a choice.
So when someone tells you to bow to another God, you have no excuse. When someone tells you to curse Jesus’ name, you have no excuse. Your emotions can be running wild, but you have no excuse.
LOVE. IS. A. CHOICE.
Choose Jesus. He can fill the hole in your heart with joy (John 15:11). He can rock your world. And the best thing of all?
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. Song of Songs 8:6
Love cannot fail. Love cannot die. Love is forever.
I can’t wait to see my husband again. I chose him.
That means, I love him.
AMEN! Come quickly, Lord Jesus!
e-mail me at nicsrevelations.com
I am terrified I am going to forget him. Like what he sounded like, what he did on a day-to-day basis. How he smiled – how he came into a room straight to me and rub my back. How he use to sit by me on the couch. How he ate, chewed, watched TV with his mouth open. How he laughed.
I am just scared.
The more time – the worse the memory.
- – -
When grieving you don’t know if letting go of the pain will erase your loved one’s memory from your mind. You are scared of letting go of the tears because in a way, you are scared you are letting go of them. You think to yourself, “If I don’t cry, does it mean I don’t love them as much as I did before? If I don’t think of them every second of every day, does that mean they will be erased from my memory?”
After Doug was killed, I grew terrified because I recognized the more time away, the less specifics I remembered. I was worried if my pain “went away” or my tears “lessened,” I would be letting him go. I actually remember writing the above journal post as the tears dripped from my chin.
In the months after Doug was killed, I remember laughing and then catching myself and thinking, “Why am I laughing? I’m not happy.” And then my lips would curl down and my momentary joy would extinguish, all because I didn’t want to forget him. In the pain, in the tears, he seemed more real somehow.
I hesitate to write what I want to write next, but this blog is about truth. So here goes . . .
The tears never go away either. Don’t fear your tears going away. They will lesson. They will diminish, but they will not stop. The pain will still be real. The wound will still be there. Time filles the hole, but the wound remains. That might sound depressing, but if you think about it, it is reassuring. If the wound disappeared, that would mean something else replaced them. That is not truth. Joy can fill the wound. Hope can thrive in the wound. Happiness can grow from the wound. But the wound is still the wound.
I would never want my wound to go away. No one who has suffered a loss would want that either. So in actuality, this is good news. You can live with the wound and have joy with the wound. Then miraculously, the wound becomes part of who you are. It makes you better. It strengthens your fear. Good things grow from the wound and those good things light up the darkness. And joy reigns!
So stop fearing you will forget them, because it is just that – a fear. You will still remember. Time doesn’t take your loved one away. And if you follow my blog, you know quite the opposite has happened to me. Because of Doug, I am making a career of shouting out to everyone that God is GOOD. And every time I write, Doug is in my mind. Still fresh. Still alive. Still my Doug.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12;24
I can now look back and see all the good that has come from the worst experience of my life. I put my story down on paper and there are days I hear how much it has meant to someone else. Sometimes, someone like my friend’s daughter, actually comes to faith.
Just yesterday my mother called to say one of her friends had left a message on her answering machine. As my mother pushed “play,” you could hear the emotion in the woman’s voice, “I just finished reading Nic’s book. Amazing. It is the most inspirational thing I have ever read. Thank her. Thank her for sharing her story.”
And that’s not all.
Doug’s mom has started the Doug DiCenzo Camp Fund in Doug’s honor, allowing kids in New England to go to summer camps when they can’t afford it. Now kids from all over New England learn about Doug when they apply for financial assistance to live their dreams.
Doug has been gone for 6 years now, actually longer if you count his time in Iraq. I can say with all honesty, I love him more now than I did then. I am sure all his friends and family can say the same. And the memories don’t go away. Believe me, they will never go away. Important ones never do.
So stay strong. Stand firm. And when you can and want to laugh – laugh! Your wound will shake, but it will not shatter. You wouldn’t want it to, would you?
e-mail me at nicsrevelations.com